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Volley Pals – Review

When I was a kid, my father refused to play video games with me, he insisted it was because I was “cheating” when I’d memorised every special move on the latest fighting game, but I was just hoping to enjoy some multiplayer gaming.
Over the years, online multiplayer and various matchmaking systems make it easier than ever to find people who actually know what they’re doing, but at home, with children, parents or even your partner or friends, it’s not always easy to find a game that provides fun for everyone, without punishing any skill-gap.

Volley Pals aims to fix this with a simple, arcade-style volleyball game that anyone can play.

Volley Pals can be played by up to 4 players, (2 vs 2) though if you’re brave (or smart) you’ll chose to play on a team alone, but just like Volleyball, each team can touch the ball twice before it has to head back to the other half of the court, when the ball hits the floor (or is touched 3 times consecutively by one team) the attacking team gains a point.
In a similar fashion to Rocket League Sideswipe, there’s no out of bounds and the ball will bounce back off the end of the court, meaning it’s constantly kept airborne until a point is won.

Controls are as simple as they can get, with left and right moving your character, and A jumping, when you jump your player into the ball it will automatically knock it back into the air.

The number of times a ball can be hit, the points required for a win and the match length can all be changed before starting the match, so if you’d rather have a quick single-hit game with the first to 3, or play 10 minutes non-stop to see who gets the highest score, there’s enough options within these three rules to mix things up a little.

Obviously, we haven’t all got 4 friends or controllers, so there’s the option to add a AI Bot to fill spaces if necessary. The quality of these bots isn’t too bad, and will provide enough fun for a quick play alone, or maybe helping an inexperienced player, but the bots seem to play like that kid who thinks he’s fantastic at everything, but constantly fails to prove it.
The AI players will go for just about every shot they can, which can sometimes lead to double-hits and lost points, and the few times I thought I’d stay away and let the AI deal with it, they’d woefully knock the ball in the wrong direction or just miss it entirely.

In total there’s 10 court options and each one has a small feature which can add a little variety into the games, Beach has small crabs who might occasionally keep the ball from touching the floor, The Moon gives players low gravity and high and slower jumps, while the Science lab has Portal style “portals” to interfere with play and the sewers have a centre net that constantly raises and lowers.
The final “custom court, allows you to set your boundaries, such as court size, ceiling and net height.

There’s a nice variation of courts, but once you’ve seen them all, there’s really not much else on offer from Volley Pals. Even achievement hunters will find they’ve hit 1000 Gamerscore by simply playing each court once.

Graphically, Volley Pals does exactly what the screenshots show, bright, colourful courts and characters, which could have definitely looked a lot better, but as you might expect it runs perfectly smooth at all times, and it’s always easy to spot where your character is on the screen and where the ball is.
There’s small effects such as banana’s flying away when the monkey hits the ball, but it’s generally all very basic.
Sound isn’t bad and provides enough background ambience to keep your ears company, but as it’s a local-multiplayer only game, let’s hope you’ve got plenty of chat and laughter with your friends and family to help fill the atmosphere.

On to the negatives, and sadly, there’s quite a few to look at.
Firstly with no online play at all, outside of local multiplayer, there’s really nothing at all, no career or tournaments, no reason to play beyond those easy achievements you can unlock in 5-10 minutes, and no consistency from the AI meaning for the short time you do play alone, you’ll probably opt to play solo against 2 bots, knowing they’ll constantly ruin it for themselves and not you.

The lack of options extends to the characters, there’s four to choose from Chip (Monkey), Arlo (Skater), Ooze (Slime blob) and Minnie (Girl), and while there’s 4 (colours) variations of each, when everything else is kept so simple, it would have been easy to add many, many more characters, even unlocking a new character every 5 games would at least give a reason to play it.

With a little more care and attention to detail, Volley Pals could have made a really simple and fun arcade game into a fantastic package, adding simple tournaments, more characters, maybe even unlocking customisation options such as new colours, hats or ball would have offered so much. But instead, we’re left with a bare-bones games that will provide a few laughs with friends, but really doesn’t offer anything else outside of some easy achievements.
Thankfully the price and file-size is small enough that it’s worth considering, but with so many games offering a much better local multiplayer experience, with considerably more content, I find it hard to recommend.

Volley Pals

Review by Lee Palmer



the price and file-size is small enough that it’s worth considering, but with so many games offering a much better local multiplayer experience, with considerably more content, I find it hard to recommend.


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